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Social Value Act Starts to Sink In

Ever since the inauguration of the Social Value Act in 2013, the importance of ensuring quantifiable social benefits through all levels of service delivery has been a key consideration for, not solely the third sector, but also for the public sector. As of its originally announcement, the act has been

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Wakefield Council Sets an Example with Minimum Standards Charter

Taking a step forward and presenting itself as a role model to the wider sector, Wakefield Council is presently the first UK local authority to confirm and sign a brand new minimum standards charter for construction projects. The charter, which lays out a pledge to ensure a range of “minimum

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

best practice

Social Value Act Starts to Sink In

Ever since the inauguration of the Social Value Act in 2013, the importance of ensuring quantifiable social benefits through all levels of service delivery has been a key consideration for, not solely the third sector, but also for the public sector. As of its originally announcement, the act has been requiring for all public bodies (both in England and Wales) to pay heed to the services being procured and assess the social, economic and environmental impacts of all such works – this, in effect going far above and beyond the staple benefit of what a building might bring, but also those consequences throughout the planning and construction cycle. Of course, though it has been in place ever since 2013, change has not instantly been seen, yet it has been reported that there is an increased awareness amongst public bodies now, that social value and the benefits, or consequences of works must be regarded as the utmost import. Yet, at the same time, there is relatively low awareness of the import of this process across procurement, and ensuring that even this stage of the development process must be defined. Lord Young commented that such awareness, “Appears to be relatively low when considered against the number and value of procurements across the public sector.” And yet, whilst the act only enforces social value for the public sector, it has been noted that private companies have also increasingly shown an interest in ensuring the delivery of social value over the course of contracts. With this in mind, the benefits will of course be seen to flow up the supply chain on public sector contracts also, and the growing social responsibility displayed by leading construction contractors is well worthy of praise. For the future, one of the key areas to be encouraged next is facilities management, where there is still plenty of room for development in the arena of ensuring social value. Yet, as the concept remains one quite fresh with regard to facilities management at present, industry professionals have been reported to push the envelope on incorporating facilities management in the agenda also.

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Wakefield Council Sets an Example with Minimum Standards Charter

Taking a step forward and presenting itself as a role model to the wider sector, Wakefield Council is presently the first UK local authority to confirm and sign a brand new minimum standards charter for construction projects. The charter, which lays out a pledge to ensure a range of “minimum standards” are rigorously stuck to throughout the course of construction projects within which the council is involved, shows the council’s dedication to ensuring best practice, and responsible practices. In line with the charter, construction firms wishing to work with the council will be required to agree to the terms of the charter which, in effect exist to guarantee a standard level of employment conditions for all workers across the construction projects. Though by no means to point fingers in any directions, the charter will be used to put a stop to industry practices deemed unacceptable such as self-employment programmes, umbrella companies and any other forms of employment which are frowned upon. In addition to ensuring correct industry practices for employment practices, the charter also contains mention as to the key role which trade unions play in supporting safe, productive sites within which those employed can work. Effectively, this incorporates the laying out of a clear expectation on employers to employ workers under industry-recognised collective agreements as a means of best practice, but also now of policy. Of course, whilst the benefits are inherently targeted towards those employed for projects (or at least those acting responsibly), it is also key to note that the move will also make ground in ensuring that all those projects being undertaken on behalf of the council are being undertaken by skilled workers, in a safe working environment and to a high standard of work – after all, one cannot forget the importance of high quality workmanship as a key performance indicator across all manner of construction project.

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